While busy Ambato makes it onto few travelers’ must-see lists, the town is not without its charms. The central plaza gives an authentic picture of big-city life in the Andes, and it's a town of growing cultural sophistication, housing the best museums in the Central Highlands. Above town, there are fabulous views of the puffing Volcán Tungurahua (5016m), and Ambato’s parks and quintas (historic country homes) offer some respite from the bustle of downtown. The Monday market fills Ambato’s central streets and plazas, and is a major hub in the flower trade.

The city is proud of its cultural heritage and nicknames itself 'Land of the Three Juans' after the writers Juan Montalvo and Juan León Mera, and lawyer/journalist Juan Benigno Malo. All three Juans are immortalized in Ambato’s parks, museums and buildings.

In 1947 an earthquake destroyed Ambato, the capital of Tungurahua province, and a modern city was rebuilt.